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Controversies refuse to leave Punjab alone

As the State was trying to put behind the Sidhu Moose Wala case by tracking down all those behind his killing, it had on its hands yet another contagious controversy that  threatened to spread like a wildfire.

Controversies are refusing to leave Punjab alone. In completing its first six months in office, the Aam Aadmi Party government has been struggling through various unsavoury controversies.

Within a couple of months of taking over the control of the State, it  found itself in hot waters following the assassination of promising folk singer Sidhu Moose Wala. His assassination took place in less than 24 hours of scaling down of his security cover.

As the State was trying to put behind the Sidhu Moose Wala case by tracking down all those behind his killing, it had on its hands yet another contagious controversy that  threatened to spread like a wildfire.

Starting from one of the largest private universities – Chandigarh University – over an objectionable video of a girl student that went viral, the agitation got instant support from students of other universities, including Panjab University.

While the University authorities maintained that there was only a single video of a girl student who shared it with her friend, agitated students maintained that there were many more “objectionable videos” that had gone viral.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Bhagwant Mann, who was away on a tour of Germany, ordered an inquiry into the objectionable video episode.

Bhagwant Mann, whose  return was delayed by a day, also found himself mired in yet another controversy. Some media reports suggested that he was “offloaded” from a Lufthansa flight after the airline crew found him medically unfit to travel.

His delayed arrival also made him skip an all-important meeting of AAP MLAs convened by the party convener Arvind Kejriwal to discuss the latest political developments, including  “Operation Lotus” of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In his absence, Punjab’s Finance Minister, Harpal Cheema, represented the State at the meeting which  incidentally was virtually addressed by Bhagwant Mann from overseas.

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As the Chandigarh University controversy refused to die down after all out efforts by the district administration and the police failed to resolve the deadlock, Bhagwant Mann directed the Mohali district administration to hold a thorough probe into “rumours” that some objectionable videos of several women students were recorded and made viral.

Though the university authorities rejected reports that videos of several women students were made and shared on social media, agitated students refused to buy the official version.

As the students took to streets on the university campus, senior police officials, including Additional Director-General of Police, Gurpreet Deo, Deputy Inspector-General Gurpreet Bhullar , and Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Vivek Sheel Soni, visited the University Campus and addressed students.

They held that protests erupted in the university after a “rumour” that videos of several women students had been made. They said an FIR under IPC section 354-C (voyeurism) and the IT Act has been registered in the matter and a woman student, who had shot a video about herself, has been apprehended.

During preliminary investigation, it  was revealed that  the arrested woman student had shared her own video with her male friend from Himachal Pradesh whose role was also being investigated. The police had arrested another man in the case.

Even Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal also made a statement saying those involved in the incident would get strict punishment.

“In Chandigarh University, a girl recorded objectionable videos of several girl students and made them viral. This is very serious and shameful. All the culprits involved in this will get the harshest punishment. Victim girls should keep courage. We are all with you. All should act with patience,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Chairperson of Punjab Women Commission, Manisha Gulati, also visited the University Campus, and assured the agitating students that culprits would not be spared. She appealed to the students to wait for the investigations to be completed.

Various Punjab Ministers, including  the  School Education Minister,  Harjot Singh Bains, and Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Kultar Singh,  asked the students to stay calm and assured them that the guilty will not be spared.

On behalf of Chandigarh University, Dr Arvinder Singh Kang, Director, Students Welfare, said, “At the preliminary level, we investigated and did not find that videos of other students were made.  For fair investigation, university authorities got the FIR registered into the incident for a thorough and fair probe. Rumours regarding attempted suicide (by some students) and MMS of 60 students are not correct.”




Prabhjot Singh

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